Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s pick to serve as the critical fifth vote on the Federal Communications Commission, has withdrawn from her nomination for the telecom regulator. On Tuesday, Sohn said he recently asked President Biden to appoint someone else to the FCC. The Biden administration originally announced Sohn’s nomination in October 2021, only for him to face fierce opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Per The Washington PostWhite House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that, as of Tuesday, the Biden administration had no news to share on a new nominee.
Sohn’s failure to win his confirmation was a significant setback for the Biden administration and its bid to change US internet policy after a wave of deregulation under former President Donald Trump. The regulator has been mired in a two-to-two deadlock since the departure of former Chairman Ajit Pai, which has prevented current Chair Jessica Rosenworcel from pursuing a host of policy issues, including restoring the Obama- time neutrality protections.
“Unfortunately, the Americans are the real losers here,” Sohn said in a statement. ” The FCC deadlock, now more than two years long, will remain so for a long time. As someone who has spent my entire career advocating for affordable, accessible broadband for every American, people -that’s where the 2-2 FCC will remain on the sidelines of the most consequential opportunity for broadband in our lifetime.”
During his confirmation hearings, Republicans cast Sohn as an extreme partisan. He also faced resistance from industry players, including groups like the Directors Guild of America. Conservative groups spent large sums of money campaigning against his confirmation. One group, the Center for a Free Economy, spent $200,000 on Facebook ads opposing the nomination. Sohn pointed to the campaigns when talking about his decision. “When I accepted his nomination more than sixteen months ago, I had no idea that the legions of lobbyists in the cable and media industries, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and “black money political group with bottomless pockets will distort my more than 30 years. history as a consumer advocate into an absurd caricature of blatant lies,” he said.